Burning Pockets

So last time I promised to tell you more about how we got to the Wizard Academy theme after the Facebook style poll. Well here we go.

We went to a Local Multiplayer Meetup in Utrecht organized by Vlambeer’s game designer Jan Willem Nijman. We all had an iDevice with a build of 99 Bricks on it in our pockets and went there with the intention to show it to all our well-known colleagues in the Dutch Game Garden. But after showing it to 1 or 2 people and getting nothing more than “yeah, pretty cool” out of them we weren’t so eager to show it anymore.

The next day Joram, our creative director, realized a good game should be burning in your pocket. You should be forcing it into every hand you can find. The images should be radiating from the screen and people should be in line asking what awesomeness you are playing. We took a step back and saw that what we made was not up to par with what we like to play. There was no place for our game in today’s market. We had to make a radical change once more to make it work.

Joram got into a no-nonsense mode and took the team along for the ride. He went ahead and made a more conventional F2P design for the game and told Samar to make a concept for a fresh and captivating world this game could be set in. The goal was to convince me (Niels) we had to take yet another U-turn to make this game a success.

After a weekend of concepting, a long serious talk and some rough planning they had me along. We were going to make this game about a wizard apprentice. Everything about the game should breathe magic, cuteness and humor. We wanted to redo all the graphics, add a little story, add a character, create a world for this character to live in, create enemies to fight with, add houses to build on, staffs to get perks from and outfits to choose from. It was going to be a lot of work and decided we had to stop overthinking everything and just produce.

Designing a completely new world opened a ton of new doors and we all realized we had not been having this much fun working on the project in a long time. There was room to add a lot of humor and silly things making both the work and the product more fun.


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